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Sierra Club Endorses Measure A

Measure A, which will appear on the March ballot, aims to rezone the AES property on Harbor Drive to a mixture of open space, commercial and institutional uses.

The Sierra Club has endorsed Redondo Beach’s Measure A, formerly known as the Power Plant Phase-Out Initiative, the organization announced in its January-February 2013 newsletter.

If it passes, Measure A would rezone the AES property on Harbor Drive to a mixture of 30-40 percent commercial and institutional use. The remaining land would be designated parkland and open space.

By rezoning the land, anti-power-plant activists hope that the California Energy Commission will deny AES its application to repower due to local opposition.

It’s always been a goal of the Sierra Club to turn the property into parkland or open space, said Al Sattler, head of the local Sierra Club group.

The current AES Redondo Beach power plant uses once-through cooling, where ocean water is pumped in to cool the superheated steam that spins the turbines to create electricity. State regulations on once-through cooling plants mandate that the current plant be retired, repowered (rebuilt) or retrofitted to no longer use once-through cooling.

“The old power plant must be shut down because it has been sucking in ocean water for cooling, and killing marine life by cooking it,” the Sierra Club said in the newsletter.

In November, AES Southland filed an application with the California Energy Commission to repower the aging power plant along Harbor Drive. AES says the new AES Redondo Beach will be a “smaller, cleaner, quieter modern plant” that will bridge the gap when electricity from renewable sources is not available.

Opponents from the NoPowerPlant.com political action committee, which spearheaded the push to put Measure A on the ballot, disagree. They say that even though the new plant will run cleaner, AES wants it to run more often, and thus it will produce more particulate pollution annually than the current plant. Additionally, opponents say that a new plant would continue to depress property values and economic growth in the area.

In discussing the Sierra Club’s decision to endorse Measure A, Sattler pointed to a Redondo Beach City Council meeting in 2012 where a representative from the California Independent Systems Operator said there was enough excess capacity in the near future to retire permanently one of the once-through cooling plants in the area.

Sattler also pointed out that increased air pollution and additional investment in fossil fuels would divert money from green technologies, a backwards step from where alternative energy proponents are headed. 

“Fossil fuels are not the future for energy, especially in California,” said Redondo Beach City Councilman Bill Brand, who co-wrote Measure A. “Ultimately, AES Redondo wants to build the power plant to maximize AES profits, and the power plant won’t maximize Redondo Beach revenue.”

Representatives from AES Southland did not return requests for comment.

Jim Light January 04, 2013 at 02:31 PM
Kelly, If the measure passes this is way more than BBR. It is the the NoPowerPlant.com group. It is the over 100 volunteers who gave up their summer to collect signatures that qualified Measure A for the ballot. It is the 7500 voters who signed the petitions. And it will be voting majority of Redondo who would have voted Yes on Measure A. As to the candidates who don't support A. It should be of no surprise. All three of them were steadfastly for the Heart of the City, which would have added zoning for 3000 condos at the power plant site while still allowing a power plant to operate. All three were opposed to Measure DD, which passed and gives all Redondo voters a say in major zoning changes passed by the City. All three voted to illegally ignore the City Charter in putting a major zoning change on the ballot. So Kelly, the postion of the three candidates for Council should be no surprise. They have consistently voted for development over resident quality of life their whole political careers. Please show us your analysis that shows the city will go bankrupt if Measure A is passed. You've said it a lot, but you've never supported it with a cogent supported argument. It's not "throw the baby out with the bathwater". It is "do we want industrial blight on our waterfront for 50 years or not?" This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. With the power not needed and all the negative community impacts, Yes on A is a no brainer.
Diane Naletich January 04, 2013 at 03:10 PM
Hats off to the Sierra Club for their support of this critical issue that is coming up for vote. If you are still on the fence regarding how to vote, please read the data on how this plant affects our city as well as surrounding areas. If you truly care about the health of children, you will take time to read the scientific facts.
sheri patterson January 04, 2013 at 06:19 PM
"There are no candidates for mayor that support the measure because they have the most information regarding the issue." ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Kelly, your statements are so off-base and so factually incorrect. You seem to be on a "smear campaign" and are being a mouthpiece for AES and The Chamber (both with obviously huge financial conflicts of interest that are intentionally deceiving the public). And yes, both pushed very hard for Heart of the City as well as Gin, Kilroy and Aspel. The majority of Redondo was outraged over the Heart of the City issue. Jim Light helped bring the facts to the public about the flawed traffic and environmental impact studies that the planning commission voted unanimously to approve (knowing someone cooked the books). But thousands of residents helped STOP Heart of the City, far more significant than BBR and Jim LIght. Jim has used his expertise in these areas to help stop disastrous projects from ruining our City. The issue before us is about truth. Measure A is legal. That is why in 2004 City Staff did extensive legal research and put forth a legal guideline on how to phase out industrial use on our waterfront. Measure A has a strong legal foundation following City Staff recommendations. Thousands of residents, former councilmen, attorney residents and 2-term Redondo Mayor Barbara Doerr 100% support it. In fact, former Mayor Doerr said she STRONGLY supports this Measure.
John Kennedy January 05, 2013 at 11:58 PM
Say no to the lies and vote "no" on A !!
Jim Light January 06, 2013 at 01:37 AM
Nice well supported position, John.

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